Tulare County Job Cuts

December 30, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
The problems with our state budget hit home in the South Valley. Tulare County Administrators began handing out pink slips, a move that will likely mean more than two 200 lost jobs and the closure of two low cost clinics.Administrators here at the health and human services agency went around to different departments giving pink slip notices letting employees know they may soon be laid off. The news left many people who work at and use county health services feeling worried and helpless.

Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency Director John Davis says Tuesday was a sad day for those who tirelessly deliver health care to needy residents in the South Valley.

John Davis, HHSA Director said, "They're part of our family so we have to deal with that and that's never pleasant it's wrenching."

He says Tuesday's pink slip notices mark the beginning of a process that will likely lead to more than 200 layoffs.

"It's just everywhere we turn, everywhere we turn there are revenue cuts and we just don't have the felixibility we had 15 years ago when we headed the agencies up," said Davis.

Davis says the two county-run clinics in Lindsay and Tulare will likely be shut down. He said they're burning a $4-million dollar hole in the county's budget. The news was devastating to the more than 15-thousand patients who go to the clinics each year.

Manuel Guerrero said, "A lot of people they come here and they really need it some people don't have jobs and they come here."

Katherine Torres said, "Without the clinic I don't know what I'm gonna do, go to the emergency room and having I don't know I still don't have money to pay for my medications."

A sign on the front door of the clinic in Lindsay said the facility would be closed from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Administrators held a special meeting there to explain the shut down.

Sonia Serrano said, "So there's a lot of field workers here in this county and I think it's really unfair because they rely on these clinics, low income clinics."

The county is in talks to turn the clinics over to a private company that would still make low-cost services available to residents.

There will be a public hearing on the issue at the January 13th Board of Supervisors meeting.

The county already had to shut down its clinics in Dinuba and Porterville last year.

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